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Back to Paper Details
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Replacing the Rascals: Corruption and Candidate Turnover in Central and Eastern Europe

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Elections
Governance
Political Parties
Voting
Candidate
Philipp Koeker
Universität Hannover
Philipp Koeker
Universität Hannover
Allan Sikk
University College London

Abstract

A number of recent studies have analysed the electoral impact of political corruption. Hanley & Sikk (2014) show that corruption is a crucial condition explaining the success of anti-establishment parties in Central and Eastern Europe. Other studies have shown that widely publicised cases of political malfeasance such as the UK expenses scandal in 2009 affected the re-nomination rates and electoral fortunes of incumbent candidates (Pattie & Johnston 2012).This paper brings together these two streams of literature by looking at the impact of corruption (perception) on candidate turnover. We study party lists in 11 EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe and analyse three aspects of candidate turnover. First, we analyse overall candidate turnover. We hypothesize that high or increasing levels of corruption create favourable conditions for the emergence of genuinely new parties (i.e. those with a high share of new candidates) and incentives for existing political parties to rejuvenate their candidate lists – getting rid of established (and ostensibly corrupt) politicians and bringing in new candidates with no previous political experience. Secondly, we focus on incumbent governing parties, hypothesizing that high or increasing levels of corruption make the revision of candidate lists particularly urgent for those with executive responsibilities. Finally, we study the relationship between corruption and the establishment of splinter parties – defined as those primarily fielding candidates from previously existing parties. The analysis is based on a newly created data set that covers most of the elections during the last two decades in the region. Works cited Hanley, S., & Sikk, A. (2014). Economy, corruption or floating voters? Explaining the breakthroughs of anti-establishment reform parties in Eastern Europe. Party Politics, (Early online). Pattie, C., & Johnston, R. (2012). The Electoral Impact of the UK 2009 MPs’ Expenses Scandal. Political Studies 60: 730–750.